Look at the frequently published lists of the world’s top 10 cities and you’ll usually find Copenhagen included. The capital of Denmark enjoys a reputation as a clean, tolerant and thoroughly likeable place for both residents and visitors. So what is there to do and see on a city break to Copenhagen? Here are just a few of the most popular attractions.
The Rundetårn (Round Tower)
Built in around 1640, this tower is part of the Trinity complex, with includes the adjacent church and library. Most folks climb to the top of the tower to enjoy great views across the roofs of Copenhagen. On a clear day you can see across the Øresund to Sweden and the city of Malmö. The structure of the tower is unusual in that there no steps for most of the ascent, with a gently curving stone path surrounded by bright whitewashed walls. You’ll find a privy halfway up the path to the top and while it’s not in use today you might be curious to know that one of its most illustrious users would almost certainly have been Hans Christian Andersen, who was a regular visitor to the library.
The Little Mermaid
This small rather unimpressive statue is firmly on the tour bus route and will celebrate its centenary in August 2013. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name, the little bronze mermaid looks out wistfully across the sea (to an industrial container port). While the statue itself is little more than a forgettable photo stop, it’s a very pleasant walk from the city centre and the surrounding area is well worth exploring. Nearby is the old Citadel, with its pretty red buildings and prominent windmill, while by the waterbus stop is the oh-so English St Alban’s Anglican church.
A free state within the city, Christiana is a hippy commune that enjoys a great deal of autonomy. It has its own currency (although Danish money is widely accepted), its own flag, laws and even its own security arrangements. The smell of cannabis hangs in the air (the make-shift stalls selling it resemble a church garden party at first glance), while the streets between the ramshackle homes are filled with curious tourists. Guided tours of Christiana are available throughout the summer with local residents providing an insight into how the commune functions. Be aware that photography is strictly prohibited in most parts of Christiana.
Meaning ‘new harbour’ in English, this area is an assortment of pretty houses and a variety of boats. The harbourfront is lined with restaurants and is a favourite place to sit and enjoy dinner on a warm summer evening. It’s a photographer’s delight too, but you’ll need to come early to see Nyhavn without the crowds.
This museum on the edge of the Rosenborg Palace Garden houses one of Europe’s finest collections of Islamic Art. Entry is free as is the audio guide that provides a valuable commentary on the many pictures, sculptures and objects collected from around the world.
Yes there is a garden here, but you don’t come to Tivoli for a bit of green space. This is Copenhagen’s 170 year old amusement park, said to the inspiration for Walt Disney’s first Disneyland park in California. A visit to Tivoli is certainly not cheap, but the park does provide a likeable blend of kitsch and modern thrill-seeking rides.
You can include a city break in Copenhagen as part of a twin-city itinerary that also takes in the Swedish capital Stockholm.